Shortly after the Falcons Week 18 loss to the Saints, Terry Fontenot signed a bevy of players to reserve/future contracts. It included every member of the Falcons practice squad and a few other players, which gives them a chance to make the final 53-man roster in 2022.
Atlanta’s 2022 offseason has officially begun, and with so many positions that need addressing because of roster turnover, the 2022 Falcons could look much different than the 2021 team. Thus far, Fontenot has been active in bringing in some low-risk, high-reward players that could carve out roles next year.
On Thursday, the Falcons signed outside linebacker Duke Ejiofor to a reserve/future contract as the team desperately needs pass rushers.
We have signed OLB Duke Ejiofor to a reserve/future contract.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) January 13, 2022
Ejiofor played 12 games with the Texans in 2018, but that is the only action the soon-to-be 27-year-old has had in the NFL because of injuries. Coming out of college, he was an effective pass rusher, totaling 18.5 sacks in his final two seasons at Wake Forest, but he missed both the 2019 and 2020 seasons then was waived in June of last year following a failed physical.
After working him out at the end of 2021, it is clear the Falcons see the potential. Ejiofor is undoubtedly worth taking a flyer on if he can stay healthy. The Falcons desperately need to manufacture a pass rush this offseason, and with little cap space to add a difference-maker, the front office has to hit on these more unexpected contributors.
The Falcons also signed two former Canadian Football League players. Saskatchewan Roughriders wide receiver Brayden Lenius and Winnipeg Blue Bombers cornerback Dee Alford will have an outside chance of contributing in 2022.
They both have potential upside. Lenius, a 6-foot-5 receiver, caught 37 passes for 471 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games for Saskatchewan this season. Alford was a part of a Grey Cup-winning team, leading Winnipeg with four interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. He had 48 tackles and a forced fumble in 14 games played for the Blue Bombers.
The team also signed NFL journeyman Corey Ballentine.
We have signed Corey Ballentine to a reserve/future contract and have activated Jonathan Bullard and Jason Spriggs from the reserve/COVID-19 list.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) January 12, 2022
He’s spent time with the Jets, Giants, and Lions over the past three seasons. Ballentine’s most significant contributions came on special teams, though. He’s returned 35 kicks for an average of 24.4 yards per return, so his path to making the roster will be as a depth piece at cornerback and competing with Avery Williams as a return specialist.